Edward Cyr at the University of New Brunswick in Canada is doing research to create an artificial intelligence system that can create 3D printing solutions to problems. The system can take a problem and come up with several different solutions, then present the user with the best possible solution and 3D print it. A human problem solver would take time and is only capable of coming up with a limited number of designs, whereas a computer could come up with endless numbers of designs while giving us the most optimal one. This could revolutionize the 3D printing industry and the entire manufacturing industry.
3D printing has been paired with AI in the past to conceptualize solutions for growing food in space. AstroGro uses 3D printed pods and an AI system to control an ecosphere that can grow fresh foods for astronauts on the space station. The AI system makes it so that anyone can grow food with these pods, regardless of their experience in horticulture.
MIT has also 3D printed a functioning robot that can “practically walk right out of the printer.” Using inkjet printing technology, they were able to print a hydraulic system that filled the channels with liquid as it was printing, so that when it finished all they had to do was place a battery and motor in the robot and it was fully functioning. Using this technology they were also able to print a functional silicone hand with hydraulic fingers.
Although these technologies are advanced, Cyr’s research will be the first time that an AI system will be able to 3D print its own solutions to problems.
Haria, Rushabh. “Canadian Researchers in Pursuit of Artificially Intelligent 3D Printers.” 3D Printing Industry, 3D Printing Industry, 26 Aug. 2017, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/canadian-researchers-manufacturing-solutions-am-ai-120926/.
Tampi, Tarun. “Space Farming with AstroGro’s 3D Printed Smart Pod.” 3D Printing Industry, 3D Printing Industry, 26 Aug. 2017, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/space-farming-with-astrogros-3d-printed-smart-pod-47839/.
Molitch-Hou, Michael. “MIT 3D Prints Functioning Robot in Single Step.” 3D Printing Industry, 3D Printing Industry, 26 Aug. 2017, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/mit-3d-prints-functioning-robot-in-single-step-75975/.